Exams, buildings and mountain views are all very well, but the thing you're all desperate to know is “What's the beer like ??”. Being the scientifically inquiring type, I set out to test this very concept the other night with my new learned chums, Brett the Aussie and Angus the Irish Bloke. The beer of choice in the Hotel Willowbanks was a drop known as Zingaro. Amusingly pronounced “Zingaroo” by the waiter, I didn't have my camera on me at the time so I failed to capture the splendour in which 3 bottles of beer were brought to us, and all 3 had different coloured glass. And one of them had “Kingfisher” stamped on the side. But here's the label, courtesy of The Interweb:

After a quick sampling we unanimously agreed that none of our beers tasted like each others', and with a due sense of intrigue I had a look at the label on the back to discover the following insightful finds…

1) The beer contains 650mL when packed. Now I don't know what differences in atmospheric conditions exist between Tokion and Shimla, but given that only about 5-10% of a hogshead of whisky (a hogshead is about 6 firkins) evaporates over a 10-12 year aging process out of a porous barrel, I shouldn't imagine that a crown sealed glass bottle is going to provide facility for a significant volumetric variance.

2) Consumption of liquor is injurious to health. Injurious.

3) Alcoholic strength exceeding 5.25% but not exceeding 8.25%. They might as well put “Somewhere in between normal beer and rocket fuel – we don't really know !”. I wonder if Zingaro is Hindi for “beer surprise” ?

4) (this is the best bit) I've read many an advertising blurb and tasting note in my time, but we all examined this piece and agreed that possibly there was some cultural reference we were missing, or perhaps a translator somewhere has a sense of humour. Transcribing for the email crowd, “They were the gypsies who strode across the misty valleys of Europe over the centuries. Theirs was a life on the move, always on horseback. And exquisite alchemy of strength and skill, with man and horse in perfect rhythm. This is the inspiration of our beer, whose recipe takes a page from history and turns it into the choice of today and tomorrow. Zingaro. Brewed with skill to blend strength with character. Filled with a zest for life. Like you.”.

There are some things that explain themselves better than you could ever paraphrase.

2006-10-14 : Just like having armpits that smell of Scandinavia
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